November 8 2022  |  Connectivity & Satellites

More than 11,000 people queried for Inmarsat survey

By Rick Lundstrom

William Huot-Marchand, Inmarsat's SVP Inflight Connectivity

Inmarsat’s 2022 Passenger Experience Survey touted some encouraging numbers at this year’s APEX Expo.

Flying confidence has surpassed 80 percent, the satellite communications company reported from the more than 11,000 people queried over the past year. With 83 percent of the survey respondents confident to take to the skies, a large majority at 77 percent say that inflight Wi-Fi is important to them—a big jump from the 55 percent in the 2018 survey.

Why the increase? Inmarsat’s SVP Inflight Connectivity William Huot-Marchand told PAX Tech that after two years of the pandemic passengers began relying more heavily on personal technology to keep track of their connections and home. "The paradigm is changing and we’re getting used to it, so what will be in the future?" he asked. "It is interesting to consider."

Other answers from the survey call up more compelling possibilities. Eighty-two percent of the passengers globally said they would rebook with an airline that offered high-quality Wi-Fi with 92 percent of business travelers and 90 of parents with children under 18 agreeing. In the previous survey before the outbreak of COVID-19, just 67 percent agreed with a similar question.

When it’s available, Inmarsat says nearly four in five passengers (79 percent) are connecting to onboard Wi-Fi, but only five percent say they are able to make the most of this connectivity. Topping the wish list for 51 percent of passengers was greater availability of charging ports onboard to ensure their devices stay operational, while 35 percent want access to real-time flight updates throughout their journey.

Like other companies in the competitive IFC market, Inmarsat is busy enhancing the coverage and speed it offers airline customers. The company is launching a second I-6 satellite next year and three new GX satellites from 2024. In two years, the company expects to have six times the capacity for aircraft that it can provide today.

“What we believe is that connectivity is like water on the aircraft,” says Huot-Marchand. “You expect water.” In the future, he says, “You will expect to have connectivity.”

This story was written with files from Stephanie Philp

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